Exploring Antigua's South Shore

by  Jim Sherman | Feb 18, 2010
 Galleon Beach, Antigua
Galleon Beach, Antigua / IR_Stone/iStock

Set on a white sandy beach with swaying palm trees, sailing yachts anchored off shore, and lovely beach restaurant -- The Inn at English Harbour is so perfectly situated it could have been created by Hollywood.  But on my second day in Antigua, I wanted to explore what else Antigua has to offer.

First off, for water enthusiasts, the Inn has kayaks, snorkeling gear, and life rafts available, plus a water shuttle that transports guests to nearby Nelson’s Dockyard (a next-door bay). A former provisioning locale and West Indies headquarters for the British fleet, Nelson’s is a very nicely preserved 18th century port. Today, the ships docked in the marina are not tall-mast trade vessels, but million-dollar racing boats.

Also accessible via the Inn’s water shuttle, nearby Catherine’s Café is worth a visit for great food with a view (the steak tartare is better here than at many restaurants in New York!). On Sundays, Catherine’s is busy with brunch, when many yachtsmen pop in for a meal.

Afterwards, burn off the lunchtime calories by walking 10 minutes from Nelson’s to Falmouth Bay – the south side’s main marina. I’ve never seen as many impressive sailing yachts anywhere as I have in Falmouth Bay – truly amazing. With numerous regattas, it seems this is where the world’s ultra-wealthy sailors like to spend winter, before moving on to the Mediterranean in the summer. Walk by the security guard on the dock’s walkway (he won’t stop you) for a close-up of the ships’ soaring masts (some as tall as a 10 story building!).

Falmouth has several excellent restaurants, including the Yacht Club Marina (Italian; ask for a table with a marina view) and Le Cap Horn (French; no view). For a nightcap, stop by Abracadabra, the local dance club which draws a wide mix of locals, foreigners, plus boat owners and crew.

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